After three days of Hornets practices this week at the Alario Center, here are a few observations and notes culled from interviews over the past few days:
• It’s very unusual in the NBA for a player’s head coach to also be a former teammate, but that’s the case with Willie Green and Hornets first-year bench boss Monty Williams. Green and Williams were together briefly in Philadelphia in 2003, prior to Williams announcing his retirement as a player. “People don’t know this, but I played my first year in the NBA with Monty Williams, in my rookie year with the Sixers,” Green said. “He was one of my veterans who always put his arm around me and showed me the ropes. This is a good opportunity to come back and play under him.”
• Green has been a durable player for much of his NBA career, appearing in at least 73 games each of the past four seasons. But he actually blames Chris Paul for a couple of his injury absences while with the Sixers. “Don’t tell (Paul) this, but after I guarded him one time, I was out for like two games, because my hip was sore,” Green said, smiling. “I (tried) to be physical against him, but a lot of that stuff didn’t work.”
• In the estimation of several of his Hornets teammates in 2007-08, Jannero Pargo seemed destined to sign a multi-year contract somewhere in the league, based on his performance that season. It didn’t happen, and three years later Pargo is still trying to cement a role on a year-to-year basis. Although Pargo says it’s been frustrating to have such uncertainty, it also provides significant motivation. “It’s tough to sign one-year contracts and some non-guaranteed contracts,” he said. “It’s a tough thing to do, but it keeps you on your toes. It keeps you hungry. It’s something I’ve been able to do throughout my career. I’ve definitely grown accustomed to it. I know how to handle the situation.”
• One of the players who has impressed the local media during practices is forward Joe Alexander, a former Milwaukee lottery pick who was traded by the Bucks after just 1 ½ seasons with them. Alexander, a finalist in 2009 to participate in the NBA dunk contest at All-Star Weekend, is a phenomenal leaper, extremely quick off the floor. The West Virginia product, who did not play away from the basket much in his college years, struggled to adapt to a larger perimeter role with Milwaukee.
• Hornets rookie Quincy Pondexter would not publicly provide specifics, but promised during a live online chat today that he will sing a song in front of fans who attend Saturday’s free open practice at the New Orleans Arena. Last year, Darren Collison’s rendition of Beyonce’s hit “Single Ladies” became an instant hit on YouTube.